Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, December 25, 2017

50 Cities of the U.S.A.

50 Cities of the U.S.A.
Written & researched by Gabrielle Balkan; Illustrations by Sol Linero
Wide Eyed Editions, an imprint of The Quarto Group. 2017.
ISBN: 9781847808707

Note: While Cathy is on Sabbatical, Louise is writing all the reviews. Cathy will return March, 2018.

I love maps. There is something magical about perusing them. I love how a map can transport you to a place you’ve never been or reveal hidden gems in a place you think you know intimately. There are maps that show the ocean floor, the surface of another planet, or a world that only exists in the imagination of a novelist. (Think Middle Earth). There are also historical maps that offer a window into our past. Whatever the subject, maps are perfect for the curious, lovers of facts, or the armchair traveler. 

50 Cities of the U.S.A. is the latest offering from Wide Eyed Editions, an imprint of The Quarto Group, a British publisher. Each page is an exploration of the wonders found in 50 magnificent cities in the United States. The publishers says, “We want to paint a picture of each city’s story, the people who strive to make their communities stronger, the places that encourage creativity, and the moments in history that highlight the achievements of our nation.” 

The colorful, oversized informational format opens with a key on how to use the book. Each double-page spread includes many interesting things to look at. A welcome box is a quick introduction to each city and its most popular nickname. Underneath shows a small map of the US that pinpoints where the city is located, A Day in…gives an example of what to do within a 24 hours period that highlights that city’s food, culture, and activities. Also included are key facts, inspiring people, city icons, and a spotlight on a particular neighborhood. 

I checked out Denver, Colorado to prepare myself for the upcoming American Library Association’s (ALA) Mid-Winter Conference, February, 2018. Its nickname is The Mile High City, because the 13th step of the capitol building is exactly one mile (5280 feet) above sea level. Cool! To avoid altitude sickness, visitors are reminded to drink lots of water and eat food rich in potassium. Things to do in Denver: visit the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, the Denver Mint, or Byers-Evans House. Did you know shredded wheat was invented in Denver in 1890?

Not every state is represented with a detailed map. Missing are Montana, North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Delaware, New Hampshire, but in the back matter under, Cities We'd Also Love To Visit!, the 8 cities from the above states are listed with brief facts. A terrific coffee table book or to use in a social studies unit.

Click here to visit Gabrielle Balkan's site to see the interior of this enjoyable atlas.

Since we are on the topic of maps, another title from Wide Eyed Editions

Atlas of Animal Adventures: a collection of nature's most unmissable events, epic migrations, and extraordinary behaviors.
by Rachel Williams and Emily Hawkins
Illustrated by Lucy Letherland
Wide Eyed Editions
ISBN: 9781847807922

To write this review, I borrowed a copy of these books from my local public library.

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